Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) took to the House floor on Tuesday to denounce the protesters who have been disrupting Donald TrumpDonald TrumpA very big deal to solve a very big problem Law professors file misconduct complaint against Conway: report State Dept. memo — on dangers of leaks — leaks to media MORE’s campaign rallies.
Duncan, who has not endorsed any presidential candidate, cited a poll mentioned on MSNBC showing that Trump had gained support since the tense protests last Friday in Chicago prompted the GOP front-runner to cancel a planned rally.
“These anti-free speech thugs and their leftist supporters should realize that all they did was make Donald Trump more popular,” Duncan said in his brief House floor remarks.
“It was sad to see such hateful intolerance on public display this past Friday. And I’m pleased that no conservatives are doing things like this to Clinton or Sanders rallies,” Duncan said.
While Duncan focused on the protesters, Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanHouse markup of ObamaCare repeal bill up in the air Trump: House GOP's plan for border tax could create more jobs Conservatives to Congress: Get moving MORE has encouraged Trump to take responsibility for unrest at his rallies. Ryan told a Wisconsin radio station on Monday that “candidates need to take responsibility for the environment at their events.”
At the same time, the Speaker said the protesters share some of the blame, saying “there’s obviously an effort by some on the left to shut down these rallies and to stir unrest.”
In another sign that the incidents at Trump rallies are troubling GOP leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThough flawed, complex Medicaid block grants have fighting chance Sanders: 'If you don't have the guts to face your constituents,' you shouldn't be in Congress McConnell: Trump's speech should be 'tweet free' MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday that he personally urged Trump to condemn the violence.
One Trump supporter, who is white, was arrested last week for punching a black protester in the face at a North Carolina rally. And on Saturday, a man tried to rush on stage toward Trump at a rally in Ohio.
Not all Republicans are putting the pressure on Trump. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) wrote in a blog post this week that Trump’s remaining GOP primary rivals shouldn’t blame the front-runner for the violence at rallies.
“Piling on the frontrunner is a rich political tradition, but to rationalize attempts to stifle free speech is not a Republican tradition and I suspect will serve to strengthen the standing of Donald Trump,” Cramer, who has not endorsed anyone, wrote.
“I hope more Republican leaders condemn those who would deny free speech to Donald Trump and defend those interested in hearing him,” he concluded.